Al Diaz [Kanerko]
A clean sweep for the Kanerko camp, with lead singer Alvaro ”Al” Diaz snagging top Male Vox honors while the veteran quartet (with bassist Kevin Marz,guitarist Anthony Palumbo, and beastly drummer Nick Iddon) squeaks by Lolita Black for Loud Act of the Year. Kanerko released its acclaimed debut Showtime in 2008, and admittedly got burned out less than one year later. The four original members got refocused and recharged in 2010, and late last year the band returned with a vengeance with a new EP titled Delusions of Grandeur. “Expect a more evolved, angrier Kanerko this time around” Diaz proclaimed, and he wasn’t kidding. The singer’s fierce vocal register chases Marz’s chugging bass on the opening cut “Silent Struggle,” while “Tears Falling On the Glass” and “The Uninvited Get to Stay” allow Diaz’s effervescent personality to shine (dude is an entertaining loon onstage), just as the acoustic keeper “Sleep” provides a subtle knockout punch. Palumbo lets the riffs fly and the rhythm section is razor-sharp (drummer Nick Iddon weighs about 102 lbs. soaking wet and strikes like a goddamn sledgehammer). The band recently rocked out for our troops in Kosovo. Job well done, fellas.
RUNNERS-UP: Mark Cutler, Josh Grabert [Torn Shorts], Ian Lacombe [Route .44]